Nightly News   |  May 03, 2011

Levee blasted in desperate bid to save town

With the intention of saving the town of Cairo, Illinois a dramatic, controversial demolition of a levee has sent water pouring onto thousands of acres of farmland. NBC's Mike Seidel reports.

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>>> we continue to cover the flooding in the midwest. it remains a huge story. and there's been a drama playing out there. officials were faced with the choice of blowing up a levee intentionally to flood some farmland to save the town of cairo , illinois from floodwaters. weather channel meteorologist mike seidel is there. he's in nearby metropolis, illinois . hey, mike.

>> reporter: hey, brian . good evening. yes, the situation got worse today as finally the corps of engineers did what they said they were going to do. they blew a two-mile hole in a levee on the missouri side of the mississippi river . this to ease the pressure on the levee on the ohio river side and save the town of cairo , illinois . and this decision went all the way to the supreme court on sunday night. the first explosion went off last night, sending at least four feet of water across 130,000 acres of missouri formland. this flooded 100 homes and left 200 residents homeless. now, there was a second explosion this afternoon, and a final one goes off this evening. now, so far the corps's plan has worked out like a charm. the ohio river has dropped a foot and a half from last night's record crest in cairo and they're expecting it to drop four more feet by wednesday morning. and brian , despite that the sun is out and there's no more significant rain in the forecast through the weekend, the ohio river behind me, which has swallowed up about four blocks here in metropolis will not drop below flood stage until sometime next week. brian ?

>> unbelievable story there. mike seidel covering an incredible decision. one evil versus another.